2011 Record: 8-8 (Tied, 2nd NFC East)
Projected 2012 Record: 9-7 (3rd, NFC East)
Key Arrivals: OT Thomas Welch, ILB DeMeco Ryans, OL Steve Wallos, OG Mike Gibson
Key Departures: FB Owen Schmitt, QB Vince Young, CB Asante Samuel, DT Trevor Laws, WR Steve Smith, DE Juqua Parker, C Jamaal Jackson, OT Winston Justice
First things first: get Nnamdi Asomougha out of a zone-defense. That should solve 20% of the defenses problems, the other 80% will be solved once they solidify their LB core, which they’ve attempted to do by acquiring DeMeco Ryans from the Houston Texans. While Ryans has some injury history, he’s still a top notch Inside Linebacker and will do wonders for an Eagles defense that allowed 112 rushing yards per game (16th) and were middle of the pack when it came to getting the opposing offense off the field (36%). On the offensive side of the ball, a lot of firepower remains: Michael Vick returns for his 3rd season as the Eagles starter and still has LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant as his skill players. The Eagles offense is lightning in a bottle….if they can keep their act together. Too many times last season Jackson and Maclin lost focus and dropped key passes (see early in the season when Maclin dropped a crucial 4th down against ATL), and they need to remain focused…it’s a good thing that everyone believes Mike Vick is “as focused as ever”.
They’ll need it, as his play determines their season, without a strong showing from Vick, this team falls apart. If Vick gets hurt, this team cannot pull it off with their backup QBs, in short, this team hinges on the durability of two guys: Michael Vick and DeMeco Ryans.
Andy Reid returns for his seemingly 98th season as the Eagles Head Coach and still has a lot to prove: he hasn’t been to an NFC Championship since 2008 and to the Super Bowl since after the 2005 season. Another disappointing showing could cost Reid his job, especially if they fail to make the playoffs for a second consecutive season.